Brought to you by Seahorse magazine, Scuttlebutt Europe is a digest of sailing news and opinions, regatta results, new boat and gear information and letters from sailors -- with a European emphasis. Contributions welcome, send to

200 Days To Go
The 8th Vendee Globe will start in exactly 200 days and all of those hoping to compete are well aware of the clock ticking. Boats are being relaunched this week one after another. Some will be in Plymouth to take part in The Transat, which begins on 2nd May, while others will be heading straight for New York, in order to line up in the new transatlantic race from New York - Vendee (Les Sables), which starts on 29th May.

A lot of IMOCAs have been put back in the water over the past few days after weeks spent in the yard. Jeremie Beyou's Maitre Coq has been in the water for several days now with the two foils fitted on Monday. Immediately after that, Jeremie and his team set off to test the boat with her new appendages.

Yann Elies's Groupe Queguiner was put back in the water last Monday and underwent her righting tests. Groupe Queguiner has spent four months in the yard with the steering system being completely replaced and the ballast tank layout being optimised.

SMA, Paul Meilhat's IMOCA (Francois Gabart's former Macif) was put back in the water after a lot of repairs were carried out on her after she was recovered after drifting for three weeks in the Atlantic.

Eric Bellion relaunched his CommeUnSeulHomme in Port La Forêt on Thursday 14th April. On the previous day in les Sables d'Olonne, Jean-Francois Pellet did the same with his Come in Vendee after two months in the yard.

After having her mast stepped last week, Arnaud Boissieres's La Mie Caline has been off training this week with her new sails. Arnaud intends to compete in the Armen Race in early May.

Further south, Stephane Le Diraison is training for several weeks in the Mediterranean, before a solo delivery trip to New York.

In Port Camargue, Kito de Pavant's Bastide Otio is still in the yard. Kito won't be competing in the transatlantic races, as he has decided to do a lot of work on his boat, which won't be relaunched until late May, meaning he will be able to take part in the Giraglia in June.

The same strategy (no transatlantic races, but a lot of work in the yard) is being applied by Louis Burton, who is travelling around France to present his project. His Bureau Vallee is being smartened up until June at BG Race in St-Malo.

Roberts Leads The British Charge At The Solo Maitre Coq
Artemis Offshore Academy alumni sailor Alan Roberts from Southampton is the best-placed British competitor after two days of challenging inshore racing in the second event of the 2016 Figaro class season.

A sailor with a strong dinghy racing background, the first two inshore days of the Solo Maitre Coq off Les Sables d'Olonne on the French Biscay coast were always going to suit Roberts and he took his opportunity.

In four races at the helm of Vasco de Gama, he posted a win in the opener in light airs - the first win in the Figaro Beneteau II class ever for a British sailor - and then was never out of the top-seven in a 22-strong fleet.

Lying third overall, behind Frenchmen Corentin Douguet and Damien Cloarec, the challenge now for Roberts is to take this form into the 280-mile offshore race that starts tomorrow and concludes the Maitre Coq.

Cammas Is Back
Five months on from his accident while training on a GC32, Franck Cammas, supported by his crew, will be back at the helm of the AC45 one-design Groupama Team France in New York to compete in the second event of the 2016 season of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series, the preliminary circuit for the America's Cup.

A single objective criterion was set between coach Bertrand Pace and Franck Cammas when it came to deciding whether or not the sailor from Aix-en-Provence could return to competition: the latter's mobility.

Bertrand Pace: "From the point where Franck was sufficiently mobile during a series of training sessions aboard the GC32s that behave in a very violent manner, he will be fully capable on the AC45. As a result, the decision has been made quickly: Franck will be the helmsman on Groupama Team France in New York"

The crew of Groupama Team France in New York from 5 to 8 May 2016

Helmsman / skipper : Franck Cammas
Wing trimmer : Thierry Fouchier
Tactics : Thomas Le Breton
Headsail trimmer : Herve Cunningham
Bowman : Devan Le Bihan
Replacement : Olivier Herledant

Two Months To Go For The 2016 WIM Series
The 2016 Women's International Match Racing Series (WIM Series) is about to kick off within just a couple of months, with the premiere of its fourth season at a spectacular new venue. Nyländska Jaktklubben in Helsinki, Finland, will host their first WIM Series event ever, under the bright Midnight Sun at the end of June.

Nyländska Jaktklubben hosted the Youth Match Racing Worlds in 2014, as well as the European Championship for women's match racing in 2011.

The WIM Series beginning in Finland will be followed by three familiar events, each with its own characteristics, in August, September and October.

The Women's Match Racing World Championship moves to different venues each year and will now be held in Sheboygan, USA. Sheboygan is a regular stop for the WIM Series, but elevating the event to World Championship brings even more prestige and excitement.

2016 WIM Series events (date, event name, venue):
June 27 - July 1, Helsinki Women's Match, Helsinki, Finland.
August 8 - 13, Lysekil Women's Match, Lysekil, Sweden.
September 20 - 25, Women's Match Racing World Championship & Buddy Melges Challenge, Sheboygan, USA.
October 25 - 29, Busan Cup Women's International Match Race, Busan, South Korea.

Hamble Classics At The Southern Regatta
Thalia in Antigua in 2008. Photo by Jonty Sherwill. Click on image to enlarge.

Thalia The Royal Southern Yacht Club will host and run the inaugural 'Hamble Classics at the Southern' Regatta on 24-25th September 2016. Today it announces the publication of its Notice of Race (NoR) including eligibility criteria and an attractive entry fee structure.

The International Metre classes, Classic Racers and Cruisers, Spirit of Tradition yachts plus Old Gaffers and Dayboats will enjoy the superb facilities at one of the UK's top yacht clubs, with first class race management and a social programme to match. To help deliver this the Royal Southern will have Stuart Childerley as PRO and have selected a small tide weekend to ease course setting.

With strong feedback in response to its request for expressions of interest and preferences(still open at some notable yachts have signed up including the classic 1930's 6-Metres BobKat II and Nancy, Thalia (1888), Rosenn (1896), Mikado (1904), Duet (1912), Misty (1962), Charm of Rhu (1963) and Sunmaid V (1967), plus a contingent of 1930's Harrison Butler designed yachts.

Invited production yachts include Folkboats, Twisters, Contessa 26s and 32s, Nicholson 32, 35 & 36s, Cal 40s, and classic style Swan yachts. Owners of other classic style GRP yachts are requested to make contact with the Club.

David Aisher, owner of the beautiful 1888 gaff-cutter Thalia, commented: "Having sailed out of the Hamble for most of my life I was extremely pleased to hear that there was going to be a Hamble Classics Regatta. The river has built boats for hundreds of years and the banks have been the birthplace of many a fine yacht. Where better than the Hamble to sail Thalia?"

Full details and Online Entry at:

Seahorse May 2016
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Seahorse Magazine

More boats than time
However big the base, and the staff, and the budget, in the final analysis the America's Cup comes down to time. Andy Claughton

Worth getting right
Persico Marine are building the latest maxi to the WallyCento rule... with help from Pinifarina. Martin Bivoit and Giovanni Belgrano have been charged with keeping it in one piece

World Sailing
Work in progress and the clock's ticking. Sarah Gosling tours the beaches of Rio

IRC column
Finding an appropriate balance. James Dadd

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Premiere Sailing League USA Announces First Official Stadium
The Premiere Sailing League USA today announced Grosse Pointe Yacht Club (GPYC) as the first official stadium for the sport's only American-based sailing league. GPYC, founded in 1914, is one of the country's premier yacht clubs and a prominently visible landmark located on Lake St. Clair, less than 30 miles from downtown Detroit.

GPYC is the first of the 24 planned stadiums with which Premiere Sailing League USA will partner to hold nationwide Qualification Regattas. Optimizing a stadium-style atmosphere, each regatta will be held close to shore and will utilize the latest social media technologies to engage both live and virtual audiences. Each venue will draw its participating sailing organizations from a 120-mile radius.

At the conclusion of each Premiere Sailing League USA season (August-November), the League will keep the eight J/70s active by allowing youth and race programs at each venue to utilize them.

As previously announced, Premiere Sailing League USA will feature boat editions that are 100% made in the USA, starting with the design by J/Boats (Newport, R.I.); spars by Hall Spars & Rigging (Bristol, R.I.); hardware by HARKEN (Pewaukee, Wisc.); lines by New England Ropes (Fall River, Mass.); and hull and sail graphics by Mac Designs (Newport, R.I.).

Balboa Yacht Club, Usa To Host 2017 Youth Match Racing World Championships
World Sailing is pleased to announce that Balboa Yacht Club, USA has been selected to host the 2017 Youth Match Racing World Championships.

Situated in the widely recognized Orange County in California, the Balboa Yacht Club will host the 2017 Youth Match Racing Worlds, continuing in its strong history of hosting such Youth Match Racing regattas.

Balboa Yacht Club is the founder and host of the oldest continually held Youth Match Race event in the world, the Governor's Cup, which will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in July 2016. In honor of that milestone, the Club's members and friends funded the design and construction of twelve new "Governor's Cup 22's" which will be first used in the 50th Anniversary event and in next year's World Sailing Youth Match Racing World Championship.

The choice of venue was made by an Evaluation Panel who reviewed applications received in October 2015. The Panel then made their recommendation to World Sailing's Executive Committee who endorsed the recommendation.

The selection of Balboa Yacht Club is subject to a successful site visit and satisfactory contractual arrangements.

Dates are yet to be confirmed for the regatta but will be released in the near future.

Message In A Bottle Bobs Up After 108 Years
When the distinguished marine biologist threw his message in a bottle into the sea, asking whoever found it to contact him, he wasn't expecting a speedy response. Which is just as well, because it took just over 108 years – now officially confirmed by Guinness World Records as the oldest such message in the world.

The German woman who found it has been given the reward promised in 1908, by the scientific institution which has inherited the debt of honour: a shilling.

The bottle was among more than 1,000 thrown into the North Sea in batches by George Parker Bidder, as part of his research into the patterns of currents. This one was part of a batch from 30 November 1906, and was found 108 years, four months and 18 days later in 2015 by a retired German postal worker, Marianne Winkler, on holiday on Amrun, one of Germany's North Frisian islands.

Inside she could see a message reading "break the bottle" but she and her husband Horst tried and failed to get the message out without destroying its container. Eventually they extracted a postcard with a message in English, German and Dutch, asking for it to be returned to the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth, Devon.

The Winklers could see it was old, but had no idea how old as the card was undated. They duly followed the instructions to fill in the date and where it was found, then put the card in an envelope to preserve it and posted it off.

The association, founded in 1884, still exists and is an internationally renowned marine research institution. Although there was astonishment when the post arrived, Bidder's name was still familiar in Plymouth, as in a remarkably long working life he had served as president of the association between 1939-45. He died in 1954 aged 91. His messages in bottles helped him prove for the first time that the deep sea current in the North Sea flowed from east to west.

Viggo Jacobsen
Viggo Jacobsen Viggo Jacobsen, the founder of the International Optimist Dinghy Association, has died aged 102 in his home town of Aarhus.

The International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA) was founded at the fourth Regatta in 1965 in Turku in Finland. The first members were Austria, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden and USA, followed shortly by Germany and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).

The new association brought together the work of Viggo Jacobsen, who was elected president, and that of Nigel Ringrose as vice-president. These two were to remain in those positions for over 15 years with Viggo's English-born wife Edith as honorary secretary.

Viggo was an ideal president. He had been trained in woodworking and had even owned a small boat-building company before the war. He had then joined the family paper-merchant business. As a Dragon sailor - like many of the most influential yachtsmen of his generation - he knew one-design sailing. Among other activities he organised the Arhus Boat Show, the profits of which were used to fund junior sailing (after a loss in the first year). Bent Lyman's comment that he was a 'foreign minister' acquired a wider meaning as he worked tirelessly with the various national groups as the Optimist spread.

When founded IODA had just seven member countries on two continents: by the time Viggo retired in 1982 it had 44 on all six continents and 30 nations at its Worlds! In that period he had overseen such daring innovations as the introduction of toe-straps, metal spars and, critical for the Class, competitive fibreglass hulls. -- Robert Wilkes

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From David Evans: So the IOC Chief says Rio will be safe and says it to the World's Press.

I hope he checked with his liability insurers before making this statement!

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The Last Word
Time is a limited resource, and so it's so important that we are aware of it, and that we mark it and that we cherish it. -- Kerry Washington

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